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tv   Headline News  RT  May 21, 2013 8:00pm-8:31pm EDT

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coming up on r t a half the destruction remains after a massive tornado touches down in oklahoma from schools and hospitals to hundreds of homes little of the town escape the wrath of the storm will have an update on the recovery from the hard hit area. the associated press c.e.o. calls the department of justice phone records of unconstitutional he wants the obama administration to rein in the attorney general will have more over the concerns that the government is threatening the stability of free press. and he found a security gap in eighteen t.'s website and was rewarded with a forty one month sentence as a result now he's in solitary confinement for tweeting about his conditions from inside prison we'll speak with andrew r. and homer's lawyer later in the show.
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it's tuesday may twenty first eight pm in washington d.c. i'm meghan lopez and you are watching r t well we begin tonight with news of the latest developments actually out of oklahoma the massive tornado that touched down yesterday afternoon was estimated to be about a mile and a half wide and was an e.f. five with winds around two hundred miles per hour now that's according to latest estimates from the national weather service the hardest hit area is the city of moore located just southwest of oklahoma city it's right in the heart of tornado alley. point. hundreds of homes and two elementary schools fellow tornado's path of destruction search and rescue crews worked through the night an interested a they are going block by block building by
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building searching for signs of life right now local authorities have confirmed that twenty four people are dead including nine children and around two hundred thirty seven people are injured president obama declared a federal disaster zone in five oklahoma counties this is the most destructive tornado to hit that region since one thousand nine hundred nine that one left thirty six people dead in oklahoma city and cost over one billion dollars in damages for a look at the path of financial destruction monday's tornado left r.t. correspondent margaret held reports. here at r.t. we're tracking the situation and more oklahoma as it continues to develop and here's what we know so far one point three and a half miles that's how wide the base of the storm that ripped through moore oklahoma measured in depth on monday now to put that into perspective that's equivalent roughly to the size of twenty three standard size football fields now that we know the size of the storm how about its strength will that leads me to our
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next number five e.f. five to be exact according to the good hands fujita scale a system that rates tornadoes based on the damage they cause this storm was fast enough to rip through moore picking up cars like toy trucks now most tornadoes are approximately thirty five miles an hour but according to experts the storm that hit moore hit speeds of at least two hundred miles an hour that's up a revised one sixty six to two hundred miles an hour e.f. five stay near the ground for an extended period of time and this tornado first touched down at two fifty six pm in newcastle oklahoma and it crawled twenty miles toward the town of moore taking over forty minutes ripping up entire neighborhoods and elementary schools lastly that brings me to this number sixteen sixteen minutes that's how long the residents of moore heard the sounds of warning sirens designed to help them get out of harm's way is sixteen minutes enough time to prepare and
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react to a storm of this size what else if anything could have been done to adequately prepare more from this violent storm and it's estimated a fewer than ten percent of homes in moore had underground storm shelters for those who heard the warning the options for adequate shelter may have been limited so did these people have a fighting chance to escape the tragedy all that remains to be seen in washington margaret howell r.t. . meanwhile lawmakers on capitol hill pause for a moment of silence today to honor the victims that died in oklahoma's massive tornado but right after that momentary pause it was politics as usual with an austerity climate settling over the beltway during these past few years money is tight in d.c. as president obama mentioned in his address earlier today when disasters like this happen those affected will undoubtedly need a lot of help from the federal government in order to get back on their feet but as we've seen with previous disasters the at hurricane sandy or the tornadoes the
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joplin two years ago some lawmakers want strings attached to disaster relief the federal government hands out political commentator sam sacks explains the city looks like it was wiped out by an atomic bomb the hospital it looks like the set of a hollywood disaster movie the coming days weeks months years with the people of moore oklahoma will need most is money federal disaster relief funding here's president obama making the case as a nation our full focus right now is on the urgent work of rescue and the hard work of recovery and rebuilding that lies ahead yesterday i spoke with governor fallin to make it clear to oklahomans that they would have all the resources that they need at their disposal oklahoma needs to get everything that it needs right away. now on monday the president declared a federal disaster for oklahoma giving those affected by the tornadoes
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a financial lifeline from the federal emergency management agency fema now which has been funneling money into the northeast to help rebuild after hurricane sandy has thirteen billion dollars left in its disaster funds to last the rest of fiscal year two thousand and thirteen but any additional federal funding that citizens of more may need will have to go through congress which has recently taken a new approach to disaster relief now historically federal disaster relief has never been offset by spending cuts elsewhere for example after hurricane katrina congress came together and passed over one hundred billion dollars in federal aid for new orleans and surrounding areas none of it was offset by spending cuts but already oklahoma senator tom coburn is saying that any disaster relief for his home state after these tornadoes should be offset by spending cuts elsewhere in the budget and we're talking about spending cuts we're talking about long political battles which don't drive well during disasters when people need help right away
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house majority leader eric cantor played the same game when disaster funds were needed after tornadoes leveled joplin missouri. because families don't have unlimited money and really needed the federal government but there's no question there's a federal role here to play congress will find the money it will be off those offset efforts ultimately failed or public think congress tried it again after hurricane sandy in fact both oklahoma senators tom coburn and james inhofe worked hard to slash federal aid funds for hurricane sandy victims down to just twenty three billion dollars about thirty percent of what was requested by affected states but again those efforts failed when republicans in congress are rebuked by one of their own new jersey governor chris christie. for the victims of sandy of new jersey new york connecticut it's been sixty six days and. the wait continues. there's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent
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victims the house majority and their speaker john boehner so here we are again another disaster another debate brewing over to disaster relief with republican lawmakers including lawmakers from oklahoma suggesting that the whole disaster relief hostage until they get some austerity elsewhere and all indications are with a plan to rapidly warming that massive deadly tornadoes were not only happen again but happened with greater frequency so if centers suddenly want to rewrite the rules about better or disaster relief and they sure picked the most dangerous time to do it in washington same socks are to while in the wake of this tornado president obama has taken the opportunity to turn the public's attention away from the d.c. scandal and toward recovery efforts this while he was the political storm that has hit his administration in recent weeks but associated press president gary pruitt is now demanding for the president to rein in the department of justice and what he described as not only an unconstitutional move on the part of the d.o.j.
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but also damaging to the idea of free press i don't know what their motive is but i can tell you their actions are unconstitutional we don't question their right to conduct these sort of investigations we just think they went about it the wrong way so sweeping so secretively so abusively and harassing really an overbroad crew it went on to say that the a.p. is already experiencing a chilling effect with potential sources and regular interviewees who are now hesitant to speak with a news agency but not everyone agrees that journalists has a right to hide under the auspices of press freedom to discuss more i was joined earlier will by our walter pincus he's the national security reporter for the washington post and he gave me his take on the d.o.j. his recent actions against journalists. well i think they're doing work to some degree they're supposed to do we're in this league good important information and
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that is try to find out people who in fact broke the law by giving up centrally is highly classified information particularly in this case in the midst of. an operation going on in yemen while it was still going on and. now we're at a national security front enough to justify the d.o.j. obtaining phone records or in the case of fox news white house correspondent james rosen tracking his whereabouts in your opinion well there are two things involved in these two cases in the in the first case in the a.p. case they have been best to gaze at it for all more than eight months and under department guidelines they have to pretty well exhaust all other avenues before they turn to the reporters and try to find out who their sources. going for phone records or there's a supreme court case that says. there's just
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a partner has a perfect right and it's not invading privacy but subpoenaing phone records from phone companies. under our law. here is. a function of these third party is not invading privacy of the individual and in this case they were just getting phone numbers that were getting the content. of the phone calls so that. journalists in some way feel like every other citizen. and if. they know about a crime or. or a witness to a crime which in the case of a leak of classified information to some degree they are like other citizens who go to one come forward and testify or in the case of journalists if they want to
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protect their sources then they just don't answer the questions now here is greg leslie he's a legal defense a director for reporters committee for freedom of the press and he actually says that the o'jays actions against rove and we're worse off than those that were actually taken against a.p. take a listen to this i think it's more troubling simply for that fact that they used a search warrant to get very personal information they didn't just want to see who he was calling but they wanted to read all the e-mail and to do that more easily they decided to treat him like and a coconspirator someone who is engaged in the conspiracy to violate the espionage statute and that's our ages they they took an extra step i guess beyond what we were outraged about last week so i have to ask you what do you think of this james rosen case well i think it is sir said it was
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a next step but it was taken in my understanding by going to a judge and explaining why they want to do the fact of the matter is. all night i don't know the exact facts. you have to understand they're trying to make a case against person who essentially violated a law in which i live the reporter and so i said before is a witness and. as happens every other citizen. what was done to rosen would be done in the gordon course of events. within those we should have. and i think without again knowing facts of the case they probably exhausted all their other sources. in order to do this now
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mr pink is the hero are a seasoned journalist sal looking at the affidavit of james rosen some actions he we would characterize as investigative journalism like talking to sources and talking taking are trying to control them into actually talking are being viewed as criminal can investigative journalism being criminal and in this case or in your opinion in general where if a line drawn here well first base let me tell you i have a lot of members so i've looked into this a fair amount of time and i think. what appears and again it's only from what i've read that he. didn't do anything seriously to protect a source. he apparently tie. exchanged e-mails he apparently. they both left state department
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building roughly the same time came back roughly the same time through the same intruder a very you know you're giving up your right or privacy the idea that nobody should know where you go what you're doing when you're in an adequate government building . and then he wrote a story two hours later but at the same time let's go back to to this a.p. records case a lot of reporters and those in a.p. and beyond are saying that because the d.o.j. is going after journalists it is having a chilling effect on the way that they conduct their investigations on the people who talk to them as a journalist do you think that that isn't a valid argument no why not they've been talking about chilling effects of the government and distributing what we do so since water and i've been doing this for
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forty years. i think the thing you have to worry about is all the talk about shirley i mean we went through this to the bush administration. in which i recycle content on a and also caught up with subpoenas and the valerie plame shit. oh. it didn't chill who ever again which is highly sensitive information. to the a.p. correspondent less than a month ago. so. the pressure is when yelling chilling effects you know for dozens or decade. and people want to leak information. walter pincus national security reporter for the washington post thank you so much for your time sir you're welcome. still ahead here on ars he found
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a security gap in eighteen tees website and were rewarded with a forty one month sentence in jail now he's in solitary confinement for tweeting about his conditions from inside jail we'll speak to andrew are in higher sawyer after the break. is it possible to navigate the economy with all the details to just take information and media hype will keep you up to date by decoding the mainstream headlines they take it in your right. the worst to follow through. i don't. really. want. to get you never seen anything like i'm still.
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on the case of a self-proclaimed hacker and troll and you are in high more known to the digital world as we he is the twenty seven year old who was sentenced to forty one months in federal prison for discovering a security flaw. on eighteen teams website he then release the personal data of some one hundred fourteen thousand i pad users to gawker but even prison bars haven't been able to keep this computer whiz off of the internet that is until now
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during his first weeks in prison andrew found a way to tweet about his condition through a friend he also posted recordings to his sound cloud account talking about his experience from behind bars but when prison officials discovered what he was doing they put andrew and ministry of segregation making it difficult for even his lawyer to get in contact with him and you are in homer's lawyer tor eklund actually joined me earlier to talk about andrew's condition. well it seems like he's a fairly decent spirits for what they've done to him essentially right now they're holding him in roughly ten by ten. with one other cell mate he's allowed out three times a week for fifteen minutes to take a shower and then he's back in there he's been cut off from all phone contact he's got extremely limited snail mail contact. so i mean he's almost in solitary confinement but not quite there any indication
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it's his tweak it's his ways of reaching out to the air at using his first amendment rights one of the reasons that he was put behind bars. i think that's absolutely the reason when i talked to him you know i asked and you know just getting me fired did you cause any problems and you said no basically what he got told is that when he first got into prison they sort of pulled put him in a holding prison in brooklyn and there's this federal prison email system called truly and he was using that to send out tweets and then they cut that off all of a sudden and then he to help so set up a way where he could call out using his phone privileges and leave recorded messages on the internet on sound cloud and they specifically told him that he was being disciplined and put under investigation for his tweeting and his sound cloud recordings and that that somehow that that was threat to the general prison
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population now for those of us who don't have any experience really in the jail and prison system what are the first amendment rights that we know of that prisoners actually have we do know for instance that they and many say they are not allowed to vote what about the first amendment right what you generally keep your first amendment rights in prison i mean there's a lot of prisoners that publish from prison mean. there's prisoners like publishing nazi propaganda anti-abortion publications out of prison the only way that they can legitimately curtail your first amendment rights in prison if it's related to what's called a legitimate pain a logical interest a the safety of the general population or that can stop you if you're trying to you know commit some sort of crime in the outsider or call out hits but none of that is happening here i think basically what they're they're doing is they're throwing them in admin segregation because they don't like a speech now
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a lot of this case and clued in the sentence seems to be affected by your client's perceived attitude problem for instance he was tweeting from the courtroom he called the judge profanities on the internet he expressed no remorse for what he had done and that was actually the night before he was sentence he actually said to his fans on write it that the next time he was not going to be quote nearly as nice when he does something now the minimum punishment for his offense is thirty three months he actually got forty one months is that justifiable given the things that i had just mentioned. i think actually the judge has a wide range of sentencing and i don't think it's made of sense was it was thirty three months i think you're looking at the sensing report but i don't find it justified i think really what's happening is he's being punished for being who he is which is an unpopular defend it with you know unpopular views which i don't necessarily agree with i don't adore says views but you know i represent him as to
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the law and not what he's saying and frankly quite often i just ignore what he's written but you know you've got a lot of people who've committed like government corruption or have lied to the f.b.i. about murderers or whatnot who are doing a lot less time and we need to remember that this is such a victimless crime while anybody want to ask you about we don't have too much time left but a lot of people are arguing that we've never committed a crime in the first place so he was charged under the computer fraud and abuse act for essentially not following the terms and conditions of a t.n.t.'s web site but the play devil's advocate here he did leak all that information to gawker and in this environment were all kinds of leakers are being charged do you think that this attitude toward leakers is the reason that he actually was charged. i think to charge them because they just found him reprehensible all in their worldview they considered him somehow a threat to the republic i don't even think that what he did was illegal i think
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the law is terrible even written and horribly vague and i'm not alone in that view that i was tore act when he's the attorney for andrew arnheim or. i look now at the changing policies when it comes to drone operations abroad government sources are now acknowledging that the obama administration is handing over some control of the counterterror operations to the pentagon those responsibilities previously fell into the hands of the cia while this doesn't necessarily mean fewer drone attacks on terror targets overseas it is a step forward for. here is why handing that power over to the pentagon puts it under the scope of congressional oversight so yes it does mean a little more transparency when it comes to you a these drone strikes in yemen will fall into the hands of the armed forces while those that occur in pakistan will continue to be controlled by the cia the ultimate goal will be to actually have all those operations under the pentagon there have
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been three hundred thirty five drone strikes in pakistan and sixty six in yemen that's according to the new america foundation the united states is also carried out drone strikes in afghanistan iraq libya and east africa intelligence analysts say that this shift in powers indicates president obama's desire to have the cia return to its traditional spy operations instead of paramilitary measures that it has assumed over the past decade president obama is expected to make a speech this service day at the national defense university in washington which will include a broader discussion of the use of drones as a tool of war. while since the clean water act was passed in one nine hundred seventy two the us government has promised the public to protect drinking water usually the environmental protection agency gives a big fat no to drilling and mining that they believe could endanger public water sources but that's not always the case not if you find a good lobbyist to convince them otherwise for more on how the big bucks beat out
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the public interest the president's lowering harford missed. if you have any doubt about who calls the shots in the united states i have a good story that might help you make up your mind it takes place in the small town of goliad texas they have a novel for there which feeds into the town's pristine supply of underground drinking water a company called uranium energy corp has been trying to launch a large scale mining project there for a long time now they've wanted to inject an oxygen to enrich solution between
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ninety and four hundred fifty feet into the outlet for that will dissolve more than five million pounds of uranium deposits freeing them to be sucked back out and processed for nuclear fuel but the process would leave uranium radium and other contaminants floating in the clean water so the environmental protection agency aka the e.p.a. had been telling uranium energy that no they couldn't mine that apple for a long time it looked like the e.p.a. was going to stand its ground and not allow the water in goalie it to be polluted that was in part because some of the testing data submitted by uranium energy showed that underground contaminants what a flow south east from the mine site directly toward homes in goliad county but then something magical happened near a knee an energy corporation hired heather. for four hundred thousand dollars
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a lobbyist who has so much pull in washington of corporate boards and. magazine dubbed her the number one person you need to know in obama's washington and she started reaching out to the higher ups in the p.a. on behalf of uranium energy she called and wrote to them several times a month and she even invited them over to house for parties she was super good as well with them using subject lines like are we having fun yet and the rumors dot dot dot. in her correspondence with the e.p.a. head and guess what happens next after the dust is eleven months of interference the e.p.a. magically issued for exemption to uranium energy they could now mind and go lead a few days later she emailed the e.p.a. bigwigs who machines all friendly with to say thanks again for your leadership we greatly appreciate all the time you invested in this project and hope it's the
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start of a closer working relationship between the industry and the agency. so if you think the people who call the shots in the us are people who care about the people of goalie in texas or drinking water or planet earth in general think again the people calling the shots are the people who can pay four hundred thousand dollars to a lobbyist in washington tonight let's talk about that by following me on twitter at the resident. and all right and that does it for now for more on the stories we covered go to youtube dot com slash r.t. america for the latest and greatest information coming out of all the stories we cover from around your world check out our website or to dot com slash usa follow me on twitter at by going to underscore a lopez leaving your comments feedback and story suggestions i want to know what you want to cover so tweet me and for now have
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a great night. the more. i've.
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